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132               THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

moral and social aim, however, is different, because the exercises
do not claim such a conscious social co-operation, but are prompted
by the individual love of the children for their surroundings.
Through games of this character there is, therefore, developed a
true * social sense,' because the children are working in the sur-
roundings in which they live as a community, without troubling
themselves as to whether they are working for themselves or for
the common advantage. In fact, they correct all mistakes with
the same readiness and the same enthusiam—their own and those
of others—without stopping to find out the culprit in order to
make him put the matter right.

Everybody, not only children, ought to exercise his muscles, in
work and make a first choice of this very human and superior way
of expending his energy. This is not merely to establish indi-
viduality as an entity, but to unify it also with social needs, to which
the work of man is directed. Up till now no man of government
rank has been able to boast that he has obtained from games or
sport help as great as that which working on the soil gave to
Cincinnatus; and no young sportsman will have gained from his-
exertions the moral advantages which daily work gives to the young
monk, who works out his noviciate that he may obtain peace*


If by gymnastics we mean exercises done with the help of
special instruments like those used in a gymnasium, I was the first
to start them with children from three years of age. The first
edition of this book spoke extensively about them. I had observed
that the smallest children, of about three years of age, spontane-
ously did some exercises on the railings round the flower beds in
the courtyard. These railings were made of iron bars running
parallel and supported by wooden sticks* The children held the
upper bars and put their feet on the lower ones. The distance
between the two corresponded by chance to their height, Thus
they moved sideways along them.